Tuesday, December 28

Refreshed and Ready for a New Year

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all! Hubs and I had a wonderful Christmas. My favorite part about this holiday was the peace I enjoyed all day, knowing that we weren't putting the stressful expectations on ourselves to race against the clock, traffic, and our stomach capacities to make everyone else happy. Setting up boundaries and informing everyone of the start of our new traditions has been one of the best things we've done for our marriage and health. We spent Christmas morning at home in our pajamas, enjoying each others' company, watching "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (the live action one), and preparing this GFCF Egg-Free Gingerbread Cake to take to dinner later.

The next morning, we zipped out of town for our mini vacation. It was more refreshing than I had hoped it would be. Our room had a balcony and view of the Pacific Ocean crashing against the shore, a fireplace, and most practical for us, a full kitchen! Having a kitchen allowed me to be on vacation AND continue eating as strictly GFCF egg-free and soy-free as I chose to. No driving around small tourist towns looking for anything that won't cause symptoms! Among other things, I made these GFCF Egg-Free Soy-Free Pumpkin Pancakes (recipe from www.NourishingMeals.com) for breakfast and this GFCF Egg-Free Soy-Free Meatloaf (recipe originally from Whole Foods Market) for dinner. Both were easy and delicious! And my meatloaf fears are officially gone - it was very good! I replaced the egg and cracker crumbs with plain instant mashed potato flakes, and used a mixture of Marinara and Garlic spaghetti sauces instead of plain canned tomato sauce. This will be a new go-to recipe for me, as my Hubs enjoys it very much, and it's perfect for my low-iron seasons when I'm tired of hamburgers and steak but need to boost my nutrition with the protein and iron in beef.
Some pictures from the trip:

Some sun, blue skies, and a FULL rainbow all broke up the stormy weather on the drive there
Beautiful afternoon at the Pacific
Our hotel was decorated for Christmas :)
GFCFEFSF Pumpkin Pancakes for breakfast!
Meatloaf before 90 minutes in the oven
Cooked meatloaf, with a slice removed - you can see the carrots and onions inside, yum!
It was so hard to leave my new happy place and come home today, but as Hubs reminded me, we were able to pack a lot of fun, relaxation, laughter and memories into one full day and two nights, and we plan to return next month for our anniversary. We finally learned to play some card games we've had for a couple years: Spite & Malice, The Mad Libs Card Game, and Monopoly Deal. We also played one we learned two summers ago when camping: Nacho Loco. We went swimming. We drove on the beach (for just a few nerve-wracking moments) and I now hold the opinion that I will admire the ocean in winter from afar!

Our trip was a great refreshment to me, and I determined on the drive home this morning to "keep my mind at the ocean" today and throughout this week, to stay relaxed and truly rest and enjoy the remainder of this break, as things will really pick up next week with classes starting again. I'm so thankful my husband and I had the opportunity to get out of town and get some R&R together. I'm looking forward to celebrating New Years' Eve with two of our great friends - they are bringing pizza - including a gluten-free one for me! - and we'll enjoy Martinelli's, games, and the fireworks shows.
This was (another) challenging year for me, but I chose to see that it was far more blessed than challenging. Here's to the New Year just days away, and all the great things God has in store for us! 2011 holds all the potential we can muster, and though the things we will experience may not all be easy or full of readily-noticed blessing,
you can always {choose joy}